Monday, 24 November 2014

Old Napier Cemetery Part 6

The first 3 photos today are of the sides of the same headstone.  It is for several members of the Dolbel family.  Philip and Richard were two brothers who emigrated to New Zealand from Jersey, France in 1855.  They ran a general store just outside of Napier.  They also had interests in a diary companylime works and brick works.  In 1865 they brought a large farm and later another one.  They farmed both in partnership.  

These days part of their land is a reserve named after them.  One of the farms homesteads have been restored and offers a luxury style bed and breakfast accommodation.  On some 37 hectares (97 acres) of the land is a vineyard that produces some of Hawkes Bay finest and most unique wines.




Fannin family headstone
George Thomas Fannin was born in Ireland.  He came with his parents to New Zealand in 1853 when he was 23.  In 1858 he was made clerk to the new Provincial Council of Hawkes Bay.  He kept that position until they ended in 1876.  During some of that time he was secretary to Sir Donald McLean.  After 1876 he was made clerk and treasurer to the Hawkes Bay County Council and secretary to the Education Board.    


Sir Donald MacLean

From 1844 to 1861 he was involved in mediations and dealings between the settler government and Maori.  He had taken upon himself to learn their language and culture, this helped immensely.  In the end he was appointed Native Secretary and Land Purchase commissioner.  He was one of the most powerful figures in Maori-European settler dealings.  He was seen as their protector.

He came to New Zealand in 1840 where he married the daughter of the registrar of the Supreme Court in Wellington.  Together they had one son.  Sadly she died after giving birth to him and Donald was so affected by this that he never remarried.  

Between 1863 and 1869 he was elected Superintendent of Hawkes Bay Province.  He was also a member of the  Hawkes Bay Provincial Council standing for Napier 1862 to 1871. He was MP for Napier from 1866 until he died in 1877.

In 1867/68 he brought in the law that there should be four Maori representatives in Parliament.  During his time in Parliament he served as Minister of Defence from 1869 to 1872.  He was Minister of Native Affairs off and on throughout his political career.  In 1874 he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George.  

To read more about this important man go to this link.

Sergeant Major Walter Kelsall  was 45 when he was accidentally shot in the leg at a rifle range.  He was a drill instructor.    On the day it happened he had been responsible for signaling that the targets were ready and to check each marksmans accuracy.  Through a lack of communication he got in the wrong place at the wrong time and shot.  When it was discovered what had happened treatment both at the range and later at home by a doctor were given.  However he died of blood poisoning.

He was buried with military honours.  This included a firing party of eighteen men firing three volleys.

Emma (wife)

Captain Victor Albert Kelsall (their son) was a soldier with the Wellington Mounted Rifles.  He was a surveyor before the war.  He died of wounds from the war.  He fought and died at Chunuk Bair, northern Anzac sector. 



This is the family grave of the Vautiers. Elizabeth and  John Helier Vautier and their children Theodore (died when he was 19 days), Lena (died when she was 8 months) and John (died when he was almost 18).

John drowned while swimming at 7am in the sea close to Bluff Hill.  he and his friends friends often met before work for a swim.  The sea this day was heavy and the waves were very high.  The friends neared the shore to start with.  Then John leaped under a wave.  The force of it swept him off his feet and the current dragged him under.  He was in trouble.

The others volunteered to swim out to him.  A rope and lifebelt were found by someone.  They reached him and tried to support him above the water.  They tried to get the lifebelt on him, however because of the waves they couldnt.  Despite their attempts John drowned.  The men let go of his body hoping that it would float to shore.

John was the eldest son of John Helier Vautier who was the highly thought of second Major of Napier.  He held this position from 1878 to 1882.    John H Vautier also owned a ship and was a merchant.  When the news of John's drowning was known the shops shut out of respect.  All flags at Port Ahuriri were flown at half mast.  A search was conducted for John's body, which took nearly 24 hours to be found.

400 people attended the funeral.  Shops and the Town Council were closed.  The cortege was made up of 11 double horse carriages and 12 buggies.  There were many mourners who walked too.   When they arrived at the graveside it was unexpectedly found that the coffin couldnt be lowered as the grave wasnt wide enough.  The family had to watch and wait while it was enlarged.

It is interesting to note that the day after the accident that the Hawkes Bay Herald warned their readers to never swim at the towns beach ever.  This still applies today.  The sea along Marine Parade is not an advisable place to swim.


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